The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

03/10/2012 - 13/10/2012

Production Details

THE GINGERBREAD MAN will be running as fast as he can on The Court Theatre’s stage from 3 October.

Dan Allan, Kathleen Burns and Tom Trevella star in this new version of the classic fairytale adapted by Dan Bain and Carl Nixon into a fun-filled production “filled with silliness and surprises”, according to director Melanie Camp.

In Bain and Nixon’s version, the audience help a hapless chef (Trevella) figure out the recipe to create the gingerbread man before the freshly-baked biscuit (Allan) decides he doesn’t want to be a snack and goes on the run from a variety of pursuers (played by Trevella and Burns).

Camp describes the show as “magically theatrical” with plenty of physical comedy, accompanied by a funky musical score by Hamish Oliver.

The Court Theatre, Bernard St, Addington
3 – 13 October
recommended for ages 4 and over.

PERFORMANCES: 11am & 1pm (weekdays) 11am Saturdays.
No show Sunday. Show duration 45mins (approx) 
Book at 963 0870 or  

CAST:  Dan Allan, Kathleen Burns, Tom Trevella 

Stage Manager:  Alexandra le Cocq
Costume design:  Annie Graham
Set design:  Richard van den Berg
Production manager:  Mandy Perry

Lots of chases and 'look behind you' bits

Review by Lindsay Clark 05th Oct 2012

What do we expect of the theatre that now appears each holiday season, mostly written specifically for that season and for the young fry in need of an outing? The formula seems to be take a fairy tale and reframe it for a small cast, add some bouncy music, lots of colour, whatever audience participation can be contrived and fit it all into forty five minutes. Perhaps the magic of suspended disbelief is being engendered and an appetite for live performance with it.

The Court’s current offering scores well, partly because it does away with most of the language and uses strong physicality to present the action, and the action itself is neatly structured to avoid the padded feeling many a children’s show relies on to tease out the time.

Melanie Camp’s direction sets a cheery mood and then cracks things along a mostly entertaining path. 

This involves a hungry and expansively Italian chef chasing an equally expressive chicken around the auditorium before he applies himself to a recipe for gingerbread, bringing us back to the chicken, for eggs. The milk problem is solved when a very girly cow sashays through the audience, and in no time the oven is in service in spite of repeated attempts by a fox character to steal whatever he can lay hands on. 

Once the wonderful gingerbread man takes the stage there has to be more chasing. Every child in the audience knows what to say, it seems. Then there’s a river crossing on the fox’s back and the consequent repair job; more baking, needed to restore his head and arms before time’s up; and all that remains is to meet the three actors in the foyer. 

They work hard in this show, with quick changes and nicely detailed costumes from Annie Graham. Tom Trevella is in his element as an engagingly optimistic chef, while Dan Allan capers about most nimbly as the biscuit and Kathleen Burns completes a versatile cast efficiently. 

The set is adapted conveniently from the kitchen used for the main bill, The Slapdash Assassin, and a musical component from Hamish Oliver underscores proceedings with a light touch.

Children seem to enjoy, above all, a good chase and plenty of ‘look behind you’ bits. This neat version of the old favourite has plenty of both and its overall appeal is assured. 


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